My first visit to the town of Sarhua

My first visit to the town of Sarhua

By Noé Juárez

As part of my work with Puriyninchik association, I had the privilege to visit the beautiful town of Sarhua in July 2021. Sarhua is a small town that is in the province of Victor Fajardo, three hours south of the city of Ayacucho. Sarhua is surrounded by mountains in is about 10,000 feet of elevation. The people are Quechua speaking and have their distinctive traditional colors of outfit as you can see in the pictures.

The Puriyninchik association was awarded with a fund to provide books for children and mediate Reading and comprehension activities. That is why we go there once a month to work with the children.

We arrived at 6 in the morning. We are hosted by a lovely family that offered breakfast with a delicious chapla bread. After breakfast we get ready to welcome the children. Ms. Yesenia invites the children through community megaphone located at the municipality.

The first session starts at 9am at the small plaza of the town. The children arrive excited, jumping of joy and looking and the book stands. There are about 30 children from 4 to 11 years old. They arrive and hug Ms. Yesenia, Cristina and Misael. I introduce myself and they also welcome me shaking hands and hugs. I play the traditional song Condor Pasa with my quena as they arrive.

When everyone arrives we start the session with a game. Ms. Yesenia reads the main story called adventures of Paloma written by Yenny Delgado. The children listen very attentively looking at the pictures of the book. After the Reading there is a conversation with the children to make sure they understood the story.  We given them a piece of big blank paper, in a shape of a Tablas de Sarhua, (a traditional art they do in Sarhua) so they can paint their favorite part of the story. We end the session with a snack time and time for the children to read the books they want.

In the afternoon, we tell another story and with more time for them to read more books as they choose. We end the session playing soccer. I was very impressed by how both boys and girls were very skilled soccer players. At night the host showed us his art work called Tablas de Sarhua. These are stories painted in a piece of Wood using natural Paint. After that we rest for the night. During the night we hear music all around. The style of this music is called Chimaycha which is a cheerful tunes with a small guitar-like  instrument called Chinlili.

Chinlili

The people of Sarhua are very hospitable and kind. In each corner, they greet us with a smile.

The next day, we conclude with the last session and the children don’t want us to leave. Around noon we get ready to head back to the city of Ayacucho. The driver stops halfway to enjoy a delicious ‘chicharron’ which is fried pork and homemade ice cream. We arrive back to the city and the trip to Sarhua will always be an unforgettable one.

My first visit to the town of Sarhua

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